The Real Reason Your Sales Reps Aren’t Using Your Training

Imagine you’re training for a marathon and have hired a coach to help you achieve a certain finishing time. He gives you his standard list of exercises to do and distances to run, but you’re not making the right progress. When you ask, he won’t give you any new exercises to try. Would you continue to follow his guidance or would you try something else? If you stick with his routine, you’re likely not going to finish the marathon in the time you want – or possibly not finish at all. If you switch to another program, you could be making things better – but you might be making them worse.

This is What’s Happening with Your Sales Training

We know from Leff Bonney’s research at Florida State University’s (FSU) Sales Institute that any methodology works in only about 25% of sales situations. This is true across methodologies, industries and companies. Therefore, when an organization trains its sellers on only one methodology, it is training its reps to fail 75% of the time.

Reps who trust the company’s approach and use it consistently tend to get stuck as average or low performers. Those who recognize the methodology’s shortcomings will often try other approaches, but it tends to be a blind scramble. In other words, like the marathon hopeful above, sellers at companies with a single sales methodology typically find themselves facing two poor choices: stick with the prescribed plan even though it isn’t really working, or take a stab at another approach without knowing whether it will make things better or worse.

Surely, there’s a better way to sell?

Diagnostics are the Key

There is. FSU found that the average sales rep faces 4-5 different sales situations. These situations are unique to each organization; after running hundreds of diagnostics, VantagePoint has yet to find identical results in different companies.

This is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that most organizations do not understand the unique situations they face, how to identify them and how to win. The good news is that this problem is easily solved with a structured diagnostic. Using a combination of CRM data, rep and top performer analysis, and a benchmark database containing thousands of results, VantagePoint can precisely identify a company’s 4-5 unique sales situations. From there, our diagnostic identifies the paths most likely to lead to success in each situation and your team’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling companies to (1) train sellers to identify the situation they are in and the best approach to use, and (2) shore up the gaps that will keep them from being successful in applying each approach.

On average, companies see a 12% increase in revenue performance and a 22% increase in win rate when they align their sales rep training to these diagnostic results.

It’s the difference between using a one-size-fits-all marathon training program and a program tailored for your exact running speed, style, history, capabilities and limitations – all of which are calculated and considered in designing a unique program to get you to your goal.

Managers Require the Same Diagnostic

Many companies stop there. But in doing so, they neglect their most important point of leverage: their sales managers.

Sales managers are the key to great results as they influence the performance of an entire team. Our research found a 39% difference in revenue performance between the top and bottom quartiles of sales managers with top managers bringing in an average $3.5 million more in revenue than their lower-performing peers. That’s why, when organizations diagnose their managers’ strengths and weaknesses and train them to coach reps for success in the 4-5 unique selling situations they face, it can have a significant impact on growth. On average, companies see a 24% increase in performance when managers are trained to coach to the diagnostic.

In short, by taking a structured approach to understanding the unique selling situations your company encounters and training for success in those situations, your organization is much more likely to cross the year-end finish line having met or exceeded its goals.